New mid century doors available from Therma-Tru

mid century entry doorBig news: A mass-market door manufacturer has finally introduced a line of mid century style doors. Yes, Therma-Tru has introduced a new line of retro style front doors.  The new “Pulse” line of doors — available in oak grained fiberglass, smooth (paintable) fiberglass, and steel — come in four styles: the Ari, Echo, Linea and Solei. The doors are made in Indiana, Therma-Tru told us.

Introduced in late March (2013), these mid century doors from Therma-Tru are available in several sizes, two finishes of fiberglass(wood look or paintable) or in steel and have quite a few glass options. Up until now — we knew of only two sources for mid century doors — the salvage yard/ReStore or Crestview Doors. As many readers are likely aware, Crestview Doors has been the only active manufacturer in this segment for the past five+ years.

A few differences between Therma-Tru’s and Crestview’s mid century doors:

A few differences between the two lines, as far as we can determine:

  • Therma-Tru does not have have as many “door lite” style options as Crestview.
  • Crestview’s doors are made of wood, Therma-Tru’s are fiberglass or steel…
  • Crestview offers a flush window trim option (+$450), which has more “finesse”…
  • And, while we are still trying to get a retailer to give us pricing (see pricing section, below), we are guessing that the mass-marketed Therma Tru doors will be available at a lower price point. UPDATE: Reader RetroRobin said in Comments that she just ordered a Linea with decorative glass and it was $530. It included the frame. She said that with plain glass it would have been about $100 less. We jumped over to Crestview and the comparable price for their similar Nokona door (prehung with reeded glass, delivered) is $769 (Update: There was a significant price increase during the summer of 2013. The Nokona door is now priced at $2,542).

mid century front doorFollowing is the news release from Therma-Tru on this new product launch:

Therma-Tru Launches Pulse™ Line of Entry Doors 

Therma-Tru, the nation’s leading manufacturer and most preferred brand of entry doors, has introduced the bold and inspired new line of Pulse™ modern-style doors.

Accented with clean lines and crisp angles, Pulse entry doors cater to homeowners seeking to celebrate their own special sense of style. The contemporary door styles reflect four aesthetic feelings that many homeowners wish to capture in their home entry areas: Eclectically Chic, Mid-Century Modern, Retrospective and Distinctively Modern.

“These were the show-stopper doors in our booth at the 2013 International Builders’ Show,” says Derek Fielding, senior product manager for Therma-Tru Corp. “Pulse doors capture a modern feel, but at the same time bring you back to the 1940s through 1960s when door styles were simple.

“The Mid-Century Modern style is reflected in architecture, design and even furnishings found in the home from roughly 1933 to 1965. The goal during the post-war era was to bring modernism into America’s suburban areas. For homes, the emphasis was on creating open floor plans with lots of opportunities to bring the outdoors inside. A great example is the classic home found in the old Brady Bunch television show. The interior of the home was spacious, and the front entry door had a sleek, retro style to accent the home.”

mid century retro door
Pam gasps: No inserts like this, please, if you’re trying to be true to mid century style.

Fielding also cites the simple, pure living of Distinctly Modern styles that the Pulse doors complement in the home. “Whether you’re a homeowner with a funky, personalized living space or a completely modern open style of home, these doors are ideal for you,” says Fielding. “Pulse doors deliver a unique blend of geometric glass shapes and door that can be combined to take cues from the past and future so that homeowners who crave artistic expression can select their own special door style.”

Available in oak-grained fiberglass, smooth (paintable) fiberglass and steel, Pulse doors come in both 6’8″ and 8’0″ heights. Therma-Tru offers the Pulse door line in four different styles — Ari, Solei, Echo and Linea. The doors all have four Privacy Glass options (Chord, Chinchilla, Rainglass and Granite) along with Clear Low-E and Internal Blinds. The Linea style is available with these same glass insert options plus decorative glass options of Blackstone®, Crystalline™, Sedona, Salinas®, Element, Maple Park®, Avonlea®, Saratoga™, Texas Star, Arden® and Crystal Diamonds™.

Mid century front door
Pam says: I’m not so keen on the rain glass either. Just get the CLEAR glass.

“The new Pulse product line gives design-conscious homeowners the opportunity to select an entry door that was inspired by the simple styles developed originally by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the United States and the Bauhaus design school in Germany,” says Fielding. “These influences are timeless. We’re finding that homeowners are once again embracing this upbeat living architectural movement as they make a statement on their home with a door that complements feelings of modern sensibilities, retro glamour and fashionably chic.”

Pricing for the Therma-Tru mid century front doors

When I asked about pricing, Kathy Ziprik, Therma-Tru’s media contact, said:

One of the most important pieces of information is that homeowners are entitled to up to a $500 federal tax credit when they order ENERGY STAR qualified doors in 2013, which Pulse qualifies for! [EDITOR’s NOTE: Crestview told us that they also can work with customers to specify and design a door that qualifies for this tax credit. Also note — check the rules of this tax credit — it is our understanding that it is a one-time only credit that does not carry over to subsequent years.] Pricing information is a challenge for us, because we’re the manufacturer and don’t set the retail price for consumers. Plus, there are SO MANY variables based on the size ordered, glass ordered, location, etc., that it’s really not possible for us to supply you with this information.

Early last week, I called a local supplier and asked them look up the price for a 3′ x 6’8″ Linea style door from the Pulse line with Rainglass insert — the style and size I would choose if I were replacing my own front door. When I followed up, they told me the doors were not yet in their system, and that they would need to do more research. So be forewarned, readers: Because these doors are pretty new-to-market, you may need to press to get prices and service on them.  If anyone is truly in the market — and is successful at getting prices — we’d love if you could share the info in Comments. Thank you!

In addition, my local retailer did not have any of the doors on display yet. If you are like me and are not familiar with the look and feel of fiberglass doors — or, if you are pretty sure you’d like to see the door first — you might want to try and track down a showroom with this line on display to see how they look in person before making a decision.

About fiberglass doors

Since neither Pam nor I have had experience with fiberglass doors — and are not sure how they measure up against wood and steel entry doors — we asked Therma-Tru for info on this, as well. Kathy sent us this (excerpted):

… The polyurethane foam core [of Therma-Tru’s fiberglass doors] offers up to four times the energy efficiency of a wood door and contains no CFCs. A solid hardwood square edge for strong performance that reproduces the look of a real wood door surrounds the foam core and a wood lock stile runs the entire length of the door to add structural integrity and heft. Covering the insulation materials is a door skin. Fiberglass door skins can be made to replicate real wood (which can be stained and finished easily) or come in smooth, paintable surfaces. The fiberglass door skin resists denting, cracking, splitting and splintering. It also resists rust, shrinking or swelling with temperature changes, or warping.

Crestview Doors — the original alternative

Since Crestview Doors has, up to this date, single handedly led the revival of replacement doors in original mid century door styles, Pam contacted the company to see if they wanted to add to this story with their thoughts on  this story. Especially, we wanted any input that they could provide that could help readers considering a new front door further differentiate between the (now expanded) choices. Christiane Erwin, one of the co-owners, replied:

I have to admit we are excited to see the popularity of mid-century modernism gaining since we originally published our carefully-researched catalog of mid-century modern door designs in 2007.  But what really sets Crestview apart from other door and millwork companies is in our commitment to service.

Our designs are created with careful attention to period details and geometric perfection. We are committed to quality across all products and all levels of design and manufacturing. We sell our products via the web so you can have unlimited access and flexibility to managing the decision-making process. If that’s not enough, we have trained and qualified renovation professionals answering our phones right out of our manufacturing facility here in Austin, TX, where we handcraft all of our sustainable wood products.  They will go out of their way to help you source the ideal materials to achieve the desired look.

We are proud to represent mid-century and modern design, and we recognize the importance of balancing tradition with innovation.  We have expanded our product lines based on customer feedback to include elements from the pre- and post-war eras as well as contemporary interpretations of modernism, and we will continue to aggressively innovate on behalf of this movement. We look forward to sharing products and services that are unmistakably Crestview with the MCM community.

Thanks for the opportunity to share this with your readers,


Yes, the Retro Renovation universe of product alternatives for mid century modern and modest houses continue to expand!

Update: Barbra installs Therma-Tru doors:

front entry door retro
Barbra said: “I’d like to relate some horror story to show the pain and suffering I endured to justify that I waited THREE years to do this, but it was embarrassingly easy.”

Links to these products, and our archive of mid century curb appeal ideas:

  1. gsciencechick says:

    Our French doors are fiberglass with the blinds between the glass. We got them a few years ago and used the Energy Star credit that was available at that time. They have made a huge difference in the draftiness in that area of the kitchen.

    Luckily, we still have our original 3-window wood door at the front entry, but we also have a storm door which also helps.

  2. Casey says:

    This post came at exactly the right time, I’ve been on the hunt for a less expensive alternative to Crestview for an upcoming siding & windows renovation. I was worried about the energy efficiency of the wood door for our harsh Minnesota winters. Let’s be honest, I want to paint my door a funky color, so wood was not really something I was looking for and wood requires a lot of upkeep with the harsh elements here. Now I just need to find out if any of the show rooms in our area actually have any in to check out before we buy.

  3. lise says:

    Hi, Pam.

    The Brady Bunch may be great for 1970s references (it ran from 1969-74) but for true mid-century retro thrills, I recommend watching the tv series “Bachelor Father”!!!

    “Bachelor Father” — especially the first season in which he lives in a California ranch-style rustic-look cedar-stained home — has it all: African-themed decor on the walls, low lean sofas, mini bar, oversized table lamps, etc. etc. LOVE it!!! A visual feast in black and white! The show ran from 1957-1962 and the decor is fantastic!!!

    It’s on syndication in the US but youtube has some episodes, too. Enjoy!!!

  4. Tikitacky says:

    I am THRILLED about this as we’ve been debating a Crestview door for the MCM we are restoring; but with everything else to do, they’ve been out of reach. Very nice, thank you for the heads up. Have you ever come across anyone besides Crestview that makes decorative panels for room dividers or sliding doors? That would make a pretty faboo story.

      1. modern girl says:

        THANK YOU PAM!!! I have been worrying about an alternative source for an interior screen. No longer are Crestviews screens tangible. You have completely saved our project 🙂

  5. Brad says:

    Great news indeed as more style interest among homeowners will perhaps bring more mid-century modern products to the marketplace at affordable prices from mass manufacturers and retailers.

    How about a feature on interesting (and inexpensive) INTERIOR door design options. I live in a Robert Green (google him)designed condo community in Atlanta and would like to replace the cheap slab doors added during the condo conversion with something beyond the typical big box offerings.
    Any ideas fellow readers?

    1. Julie says:

      I have been looking for simple interior doors and have found nothing. I would like a wood door similar to what is available for commercial buildings and would like a product made in the US. I believe there are some out there made in China but . . .

  6. Ree says:

    Love these new door options. Wish they had been available when I replaced my front door on my 1955 house last year. I went with a fiberglass door with a large clear glass insert. I have steel doors in two other locations in my house, but they are cold to the touch in winter. Love the fiberglass because it is paint friendly and is not cold to the touch in winter. When I get around to replacing the steel doors, these will definitely be on my list of options.

  7. This is excellent information Pam. Our front door is rotting away and the front door has been on the to do list for some time. Eventually another coat of paint will not take care of the issue. I like this alternative. It helps to have multiple manufacturers available as it does force the prices down over time. So this is good for all of us. Great update. Always appreciate your materials posts.

  8. modern girl says:

    SInce Crestview increased pricing in July by over 400%, I called Thermatru and the Linea door with Granite glass will cost $389 (versus nearly $2600 for the Parkway). The tax credit and energy efficiency of Thermatrus product make the choice a no brainer for us.

  9. Cheryl says:

    We just got pricing on a steel Therma Tru Pulse in Linea with the window to the right. $770 at a window/door store in Seattle (steel door, Therma Tru’s composite frame, etc. — no installation). It took at least a week to get the quote. They didn’t know anything about the Pulse door style at all, so I had to look it up on my smartphone and give them the model number we wanted so he could contact his distributor to get a price. I knew Home Depot and Lowes sold less well made versions of Therma Tru doors but I didn’t know they would sell the Pulse line. I’ll have to check it out because it sounds like it could be MUCH cheaper.

    We were going with a steel door because our dogs like to scratch at the door and they would scratch/gouge fiberglass, but we’re putting in a screen door now too so we’ll probably switch out to fiberglass now. My understanding is that fiberglass is usually more expensive than steel though. We’re opting to do a full light storm door so that the new door can still be on display. We don’t have an overhang or porch to protect our front door and it is exposed to the west and south where all our wet Seattle windy weather comes out of. Thus we have a rotted jamb and sill and rusting door that all need replacing (not to mention it’s an u*** [edited] paneled door with a sunburst window at the top – ugh!).

    Thanks for writing up this article. Now I know why they couldn’t find the door model in their books yet =) And it’s giving me hope that we can get the door for less money.

    1. Kate says:

      Hi Mike,
      Therma-tru Pulse doors are available in steel and fiberglass. Thanks for pointing out that they are also available in steel.

  10. Mike says:

    I am replacing a pair of Therm-tru steel doors in my front entry and want to stay with the brand so that I can mount the new panels in the existing frame. As the steel doors have had chronic rust problems on the edges, I want to switch to fiberglass. The doors are 3’0 x 8’0, and many of the lite configurations that are available in the 6’8 height are not available in the 8’0 height. I asked my dealer whether he could get the Pulse lite configuration in fiberglass, and he said no. So I came home and checked the Therma-tru website (thermatru.com). Sure enough, it shows the Pulse line as a steel-only line. If you have a source for getting the doors in fiberglass, I would very much appreciate the contact information. Thanks.

  11. Mike says:

    Oops, sorry. I called Therm-tru and the doors are available in fiberglass. They were shown at the bottom of the webpage, below the fire-rated doors.

    And thanks for pushing back. I can now get the doors I wanted. Now I’ve got to get the dealer sorted out, too.

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